Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Donegal, PA

Alcohol addiction can feel impossible to treat and overcome—for the person struggling and their loved ones witnessing it. In the past people thought the answer to end alcohol abuse was for the person to come to their senses and simply stop drinking. Now we understand that addiction is a brain disease and that the key to treatment lies in a multi-faceted approach that incorporates therapies that address their unmet physical and psychological needs, which may have been fueling their unhealthy dependence on alcohol.

Alcohol use disorders can come in many forms. No two people experience alcohol dependency in the same way, which is why personalized treatment with one-on-one counseling from psychologists who specialize in substance use disorders is key to recovery. Treatment for alcohol dependency needs to offer people healthy coping mechanisms to replace drinking because recovery is a long and challenging road to walk. In some cases, medications can help people recovering from alcohol addiction in an evidence-based approach called medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Addiction treatment should consider the whole person, addressing what challenges they have been struggling with in body, mind, and spirit that caused them to begin using alcohol to deal with these issues. By addressing the underlying causes of the addiction, providing new strategies for managing stress, and healing the body from the effects of alcohol, a person can turn over a new leaf and begin living their dream life in recovery from alcohol addiction.

Causes of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is something that impacts nearly 22 million Americans on a daily basis. But what are the specific causes behind alcohol addiction? Consider the following:

  • Genetics – Alcoholism possesses a genetic factor, meaning that families can pass down naturally-occurring traits that contribute to one’s alcohol addiction. For example, impulsivity and novelty-seeking behavior are two commonly passed down traits that make it more likely for a person to become addicted to alcohol.
  • Environment – Some individuals struggle with alcohol addiction solely because of the environment they grew up in/are living in. Studies show that those who grew up in environments where there was abuse, community violence, substance abuse, and other negative influences are more likely to become addicted to drugs/alcohol in a future effort to cope with their troubles.
  • Combination of Genetics/Environment – Many people have a combination of genetics and environment that impacts their alcohol addiction. For instance, there may be a long history of alcoholism in the family as well as a negative home environment that consisted of abuse, yelling, and violence.

Alcohol addiction does not typically develop without reason, as some cause is usually connected to it. In almost all cases, those causes are genetic, environmental, or a combination of both.

Risk Factors for Alcohol Addiction

As mentioned before, there are several elements that are out of most people’s control that can serve as risk factors for alcohol addiction (such as genetics and environment). But they are not the only risk factors associated with the development of this type of addiction. Consider the following risk factors:

  • Presence of mental health conditions
  • Physical health complications
  • History with mind-altering substances
  • High stress levels
  • Mixing alcohol with other drugs
  • Regularly drinking alcohol

Some risk factors can be mitigated in time before an alcohol addiction sets in, but this usually depends on the awareness of the individual and/or those around them.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

People who drink heavily on a regular basis often fall into the category of alcohol abuse. The may eventually become dependent on alcohol to deal with problems or stressors in life. Often this dependence is learned at an early age as they watch other adults or people around them use alcohol to numb pain or avoid issues that arise in life. In other cases, people may begin using alcohol to self-medicate when they are dealing with other issues, they cannot solve like underlying mental health conditions or a traumatic experience they haven’t recovered from.

Some common signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Drinking to help self-medicate emotions
  • Feeling unable to function without drinking
  • Including drinking into as many activities as possible
  • Drinking excessively
  • Binge drinking
  • Foregoing other events and activities to drink alcohol


These are just some of the signs of alcohol abuse. There are several more, however these tend to be the most common and distinguishable.

Signs of Alcohol Dependency

If a person drinks regularly, especially if they are consuming large amounts of alcohol, their body will become physically dependent on it, producing more of certain neurochemicals in the brain to compensate. If the person doesn’t drink or has less alcohol than usual, their body will automatically produce these neurochemicals because it has adjusted to receiving a certain amount of alcohol.

Some signs of alcohol dependency may include:

  • Requiring excessive alcohol to feel drunk
  • Intense urges or cravings for alcohol
  • Difficulty controlling alcohol consumption
  • Continuing to drink despite negative consequences
  • Drinking impacts relationships at work and home
  • Each day revolves around drinking
  • Needing alcohol to get through a day
  • Drinking in secrecy
  • Attempts to cut back or stop drinking have failed

Remaining dependent on alcohol is extremely dangerous, especially as it can potential lead to death. The most effective thing a person can do when dependent on alcohol is reach out for professional help to begin a safe detox process.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Not everyone will have all withdrawal symptoms, but some people may develop severe alcohol dependency withdrawal with symptoms after suddenly stopping alcohol use and could have a condition called delirium tremens, which requires immediate medical attention. It is best to consult a medical professional when cutting back on alcohol consumption if there is a history of heavy drinking.

As a result of the body’s reaction, the person may experience a range of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Intense alcohol cravings
  • Trembling or shakiness
  • Headache
  • Brain fog or trouble focusing
  • Feeling irritable or anxious
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure

Withdrawing from alcohol can certainly create dangerous symptoms, however some symptoms can be deadly, including fever and seizures. It is not recommended to attempt to detox independently, as doing so can result in fatality. Contacting a treatment facility that offers detox is the best option for someone wanting to end their alcohol dependence.

Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

As mentioned briefly above, withdrawing from alcohol once dependent on it can be extremely dangerous — and potentially deadly. The greatest concern at this time is the development of delirium tremens, which are a set of sever withdrawal symptoms. They include hallucinations, muscle spasms, confusion, high blood pressure, and fever. If these symptoms are not properly treated, they can be fatal. Therefore, seeking professional care prior to detoxing from alcohol is absolutely critical to avoid these and other symptoms to reach deadly points.

How is Alcohol Addiction Treated?

Alcohol addiction is a treatable disease. The most traditional form of alcohol addiction treatment is a combination of medication and therapy.

Medications such as acamprosate and disulfiram can help to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings from developing. When used in conjunction with therapy, individuals can begin to see significant positive gains in their recovery. Cognitive behavioral therapy, group counseling, 12-Step meetings, and other forms of evidence-based therapies can all help to treat this disease safely and effectively.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Dreamlife

Living with active alcoholism is no way to live at all. Continuing to drink for whatever reasons only leads to further mental, physical, and emotional consequences. Thankfully, you do not need to stay trapped in a dangerous, never-ending cycle of alcoholism.

At Dreamlife Recovery, we provide top-of-the-line clinical care so that each and every clients who comes through our doors receives only the best as they begin their life of recovery. If you or someone you love is in need of alcohol addiction treatment, contact us right now to be connected with a skilled, compassionate admissions specialist. We look forward to hearing from you.

Medical Reviewer:

LIDICE MORALES: Lidice Morales was raised in Miami, Florida. She graduated, with honors, from Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lidice has been the Director of Nursing at several behavioral health facilities. She is constantly bettering herself by furthering her education and staying informed. Lidice’s determination to acquire new knowledge and apply it, allows her to adapt, as needed, to the ever changing and growing field of behavioral health care. She was the Director of Operations for Detox MD, in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Lidice is now the VP of Operations at DreamLife Recovery, in Donegal, Pennsylvania.